Keeping vacancy rates low while having fewer turnovers from year to year is always a goal of successful landlords. While some despair that good tenants are hard to find, in many cases, good tenants are made rather than discovered. Here are three good ways to keep your rental properties full of happy customers.
If this sounds like a common tactic in a sales-driven organization, it is. In a sense, your current renters can also serve as employees, advocating for your company or rental properties to others and driving new business to your organization. If you have renters who always pay on time, who report issues promptly and follow property rules and regulations, reward them with an appropriate incentive.
This can mean giving them a discount on their rent for referral business or sending them a surprise gift card to a local establishment as a means of saying “thank you.” It’s important to have a written policy in place that is non-discriminatory and applicable to all renters who display the same rental characteristics, but rewarding top performers can give your tenants a sense of buy-in to your organization that will increase the likelihood that they remain in good standing as time passes.
Lack of administrative responsiveness or delayed resolutions for maintenance issues are top concerns that can turn renters sour on your property or your organization. Making sure all questions and concerns are handled quickly and professionally is the most important way to earn and retain top-quality tenants, especially in the Yelp, Google, and Facebook review era. Proactive conversations, phone calls, and emails to make sure things are going well are another way to keep you in the loop with your tenants so that you can deliver first-rate customer service and stay on top of any potential issues before they become problems.
You also have plenty of creative ways to share the love with tenants that can turn them into raving fans. Sending birthday cards or lease-anniversary cards is one easy way to make your tenants feel valued. If your property has clubhouses or outdoor swimming pools, you can reserve time for a monthly party and invite tenants whose birthday falls on that month to a pizza party in their favor. While tenant engagement may involve some upfront cost, keeping them feeling as if they are a valued part of a community can save you money over time by reducing your turnover and vacancy rates.
Set the tone for satisfaction right from the beginning. Tout your property’s strengths and benefits to potential applicants, but make only promises in your ads that you can deliver. You can stress things like a free rental application or proximity to bike trails, but if you advertise a claim that maintenance calls are answered in two hours or less, make sure that is routine procedure to avoid complaints and disillusionment.
Sometimes good tenants move for reasons beyond your control, such as the need to reduce commute time. Avoid this problem by targeting your advertising to companies and locations in geographic proximity to your unit, and custom-tailor your ad to include the low commute time of your property to these locations. Other times, tenants may move to be closer to family. Having a friends-and-family discount could also occasionally help you avoid this situation as well, and it is another feather in your cap to be able to advertise these kinds of benefits. By demonstrating how your property is the perfect rental for potential tenants and delivering on all promises made with excellent customer service, you put yourself in the driver’s seat for scoring — and retaining — amazing tenants.